business news in context, analysis with attitude

Lots of response to the piece last week about the move by Blockbuster to acquire Circuit City.

MNB user Chuck Lungstrom wrote:

The purchase of Circuit City may turn out to be a good move by Blockbuster in the long run. What ever they can do to expand their base may help. However, the real question is how can the business model that is currently Blockbuster survive? It seems obvious that the idea of going out to a retail outlet to look over the available selection of videos is an activity that is very quickly disappearing.

Instant downloads are quickly replacing the time consuming and sometimes aggravating task of seeking out entertainment. Not only is the instant download more convenient, but there are no so called 'late fees'. Why would the modern high tech consumer waste all that time and effort when they can simply log on to Apple, Amazon, or their cable or satellite TV and get their entertainment immediately?

Remember the 8 track tape? Blockbuster is apparently on a quest to remain relevant by diversifying their base. Good luck and best wishes. I'll be watching my movies from my Apple TV from my most recent my convenience. My time, my pace, no late fees, no hassles. Sounds like the future now to me. Good luck Blockbuster.

One of the offerings that Blockbuster is making in some its newer experimental stores is free Wi-Fi, which led one MNB user to write:

Free Wi-Fi! I look for it every time I travel, which is often! I'd be a better Blockbuster customer if I got free Wi-Fi - absolutely. It is one main reason I look for Panera Bread locations when "on the road' - free Wi-Fi, I buy lunch or dinner. Win win!

And another MNB user wrote:

Since the Internet has eliminated Blockbuster's current distribution value, while creating a greater shopper experience (i e search, customer reviews, greater election, on line distribution, no shopping trip) what choice do they have? Maybe private label movies?

Blockbuster might be the first type off retailer to suffer because of the above, but they won't be the last; it applies to all retailers; yes even supermarkets. All retailers should be asking the following questions today: What value do we create above and beyond
distribution value? Why would a shopper want to come to our store? Price and national brands alone won't work be enough.

Absolutely agreed.

On the subject of whether imported foods ought to be forced to meet US food standards, one MNB user wrote:

A simple answer: this is not a simple issue. At this point in time, many imported foods do meet and/or exceed domestic standards. Others do not. I think we should all be careful not to play the scapegoat game and make statements that imply "of course imported products do not meet US safety standards." Any more than have all trade agreements been bad for the US worker and economy. Broad brushes paint widely, but not necessarily effectively. Let's face it, retailers will not exist in the future unless they create a differentiating value above and beyond distribution value. They have to create a reason that shoppers want to go to the store.

Another MNB user wrote:

What is the evidence imported foods have a greater risk of food safety infractions than domestic supplies?

I have represented and imported fresh berries from Chile for many years. The systems deployed to assure the safety of the Chilean produced berries are equal to or exceed what I have observed in the US. It is my opinion the Chilean berries are equally as safe and healthy as US/Canada produced berries.

MNB user Jerry Jewett had some thoughts about reported food shortages:

Part of the cause of the shortage is the public reaction to the media reports.

Remember in the 70s when we had a gas shortage?

On the Friday night news there was a report of a shortage of pulp to make toilet paper. The next day we sold every package of toilet paper in the store. Within a week the warehouse ran out & we were out of stock for about two weeks before the pipeline got filled up.

Another time there was a report on the Friday night news that beef was going up 20% Monday morning. My meat department could not keep meat in the case all day. People were standing at the counter as soon as we opened. I saw one lady take packages of steak out of another customer's shopping cart.

I don't know what the answer is but sometimes the reporting is our worst problem.

I would respectfully disagree. There's a lot about journalism that I can criticize, but it seems to me that right now, the quality of the reporting is the least of our problems.

Another MNB user wrote:

I know of a farmer in Southern Wisconsin that for the last 8 years was being paid not to grow anything (due to the low prices on corn, etc). Even though the price of corn has increased (2x, 3x, 10x’s?) he is still being paid not to grow anything this year. We have the best farmland in the country, we have a rising commodity market, looks like we are having shortages, and we are paying farmers not to grow. It only makes sense because it’s the government. Actually this farmer probably doesn’t want to grow anything anyhow. He’s now in his 70’s and the physical demands of farming are probably a little too demanding.

Finally, I made a comment last week in "OffBeat" that, as I've said before, "Bull Durham" is the best sports movie ever made.

Some disagree.

MNB user Cynthia Gridstaff wrote:

You are completely wrong about "Bull Durham"...

The "best sports movie ever made" is actually "Field of Dreams."

"Field of Dreams" would probably make my top 10. But not number one. Sorry.

And one MNB user came up with one that I've heard of and actually seen, but never in the "best sports movie" category:

"Fighting Back," with Robert Urich.

If I remember correctly, that was a pretty good movie with Urich playing Pittsburgh Steelers star Rocky Bleier, who was seriously injured in Vietnam but worked his way back into professional football. (Didn't the great Art Carney play the team's owner?)

Good movie, but I wouldn't rank it that high.
KC's View: